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Know Your Alumni: Tom Ervin ’74

Ervin with 1974 Mirror Staff

Tom Ervin, first row, third from left, with the Mirror editorial staff in 1974

Tom Ervin, a 1974 history graduate, is seeking to make a difference in his home state of South Carolina by running for governor. Ervin recently returned to his alma mater as speaker for the 2014 Constitution Day Convocation.

When Tom Ervin came to Erskine his major interest was journalism. His mother, a feature writer and editor for the Anderson Independent and the Daily Mail, exposed him to the newspaper business early in life.

One of his most memorable experiences at Erskine was writing editorials for Erskine’s student newspaper, the Mirror, each week. Writing editorials forced him to take a thought or an idea and map it out from start to finish.

In addition to editing the Mirror, Ervin served as ODK president and as a member of the Judicial Council. Erskine alum David Danehower  ’74 served in ODK with him. “Tom was a great guy,” he said. “Very balanced in word and deed, at a time when folks were polarized on the Nixon presidency.”

After graduating cum laude from Erskine, Ervin went on to the University of South Carolina School of Law, completing his studies in 1977. He was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives for two consecutive terms in 1979 and 1981. At the age of 32 he became the youngest Circuit Court judge ever elected in South Carolina.

Ervin’s Constitution Day address to the Erskine community was followed by a question-and-answer session with the Erskine audience. Later, he took questions from reporters.

Ervin with EC Students

In the Founders Room, from left, Meg Randall, Jennifer Karel, Melanie Locke, Tom Ervin, Christian Beamguard, and Kurt Widenhouse

Ervin also spoke with students, faculty, and staff at a luncheon in the Founders Room of Moffatt Dining Hall. “Erskine College is very different from a state school education because of its focus on the Christian faith,” he said, adding that his faith is part of what inspired him to run for governor.

His message to students came down to a call for action. Ervin challenged students to be engaged and to take advantage of the opportunities around them at Erskine. He quoted Benjamin Franklin, who said, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”

Whether through voting, helping out on a campaign, or learning about the issues in South Carolina, Tom Ervin wants to see students get involved in the political process.

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